Completely Machinima S2 Ep 36 News (May 2022)

In this episode, Phil leads the month’s news for machinima creators. We kick off with the Nvidia’s Machinima Contest, the Omniverse Create and Machinima apps, GTC conference recordings, the addition of Reallusion’s ActorCore library to the Omniverse platform and ask ‘how well do laptops cope with RTX cards’ (what do you think)? Damien reviews Concert Creator AI for piano with a rendition of Battlestar Galactica’s Kara Remembers piece, Tracy talks about another of her projects demonstrating creative applications of AI (the Art AI Festival) and Ricky highlight’s Phil Tippett’s completed Mad God film project. Other film contests reviewed are the Real Time Shorts Challenge and the Milan Machinima Film Festival and the news of an upcoming Shakespearean performance in GTA Online by Sam Crane. Tracy reviews Draxtor Dupres’ major pandemic machinima film project comparing virtual life in Second Life and Animal Crossing. We discuss the Unreal 5 City Sample, Unity’s Enemies (hiding under the UE bushel) and Ricky’s Paperback Show. Phil also teases us with rumours about GTA6. Credits: Producer/Editor: Ricky Grove Music: Across the Pier by VYEN

Damien Valentine, Ricky Grove, Tracy Harwood, Phil Rice

Phil Rice 00:15
Hello and welcome to And Now For Something Completely Machinima, the podcast about machinima and real time filmmaking and related technologies. I am one of your hosts today, Phil Rice. You know me, you're I'm the person that you think of everyone every time someone makes a faux pas in the men's restroom. Yep. That's right with me is Tracy Harwood because we needed at least one person with a proper education. Hi, Tracy.

Tracy Harwood 00:45
Thank you very much. I don't know what the men's restroom looks like.

Phil Rice 00:49
Thank goodness. Yeah, you're not missing anything. Damien Valentine, producer have a long run and in my opinion, very successful. Star Wars themed series. Damien, welcome.

Damien Valentine 01:05
Thank you, Ricky. And thank you. Thank you, Phil. And thank you for those very kind words.

Phil Rice 01:10
And Ricky who is a Elden Ring Cheeser of great renown.

Ricky Grove 01:17
I'm proud of my cheese all you Elden Ring cheezers unite!

Phil Rice 01:25
Alright, so yeah, we're gonna just dive right into some news from machinima here in a moment, but I just wanted to remind everyone that we love your feedback. We love it like, like Van Gogh loved. Because it's, it's often unrequited. And, and an unfulfilled feeling because we don't get much of it from you, we would love to have more. And we've made it I hope as easy as possible for that. If you check out our website, completely There's a section for talk, you can email us, there's a number of other methods that you can use to reach out. And we listened avidly listen avidly for, for that feedback from you. And we read every bit of it. And and listen to it. And it has influenced us a great deal so far. So be sure to drop us some feedback, let us know how we're doing and or if you have a response on a particular topic that we cover in this or in any episode. We absolutely would love to hear from you. So we're gonna kick off some news here. Damian, I understand that there's a a way that listeners might be able to win a laptop. Tell us about that.

Damien Valentine 02:35
That's right. It's not just a laptop. It's an RTX powered laptop, one of the high end laptops, Nvidia are promoting for their RTX series of graphics cards. The contest is a machinima contest, and you have to use Omniverse. And you you can't just use anything in Omniverse, they only want you to use some very specific content, which is characters from the games Squad, Mountain Blade 2 and MechWarrior 5. So inside the Omniverse app, you can bring in those assets, and you can generate them to tell your story. There are three prizes. One, the first place is the SS Pro Art studio book 16 RTX 3080 Ti, which is a very impressive laptop, you can win there. Second place is another laptop. It's a Razorblade 15 advanced with RTX 3080. And the third price is an MSI creators Z 16 With RTX, 3070 Ti. And those are all great prizes. They haven't actually started a contest yet, as far as I know, it's they've announced a contest but you can't go into it just yet. So that might change between room recording when this goes out. So check out the details in the show notes to the website with all the contest details and see what you find that looks like an excellent contest, and I'll be giving a try. If you guys want to say anything about it.

Ricky Grove 04:18
No, it just looks like a really good kind of the graphics technology conference closed about three weeks ago, and Nvidia made all sorts of announcements of new cards, new technology. A whole bunch of interesting things that we're going to talk about. You've got another Omniverse thing right after that. Let me pop in my Nvidia Omniverse news. That way we can all do it at one time. When I sense definitely, that one of the cool things about the GTC is if you go to the site Nvidia and then GTC just put that in Google almost all of the sessions have been recorded. So if you find something interesting, especially the omniverse sections, you can watch, watch them perfectly free. I think you have to register there, but it's helped me feel.

Phil Rice 05:11
You know, I'm curious as someone who who repairs and works on laptops. One of the challenges with a laptop running gaming, like frame rates is heat. Yeah. And I, I have no reason to think that the RTX cards don't run hot when they're being, you know, pushed by a game like Elden Ring or something like that. So I'm, I'm curious how I don't know anyone personally yet who's using an RTX laptop, I've run into a lot of gamers who have used other stuff. And that's always one of the challenges is they really have to keep the vents clean of dust. And you know, you can't, can't set the laptop on your bedspread or something, and it has to be able to breathe, or it's going to really, really heat up and sometimes just shut down. So I'm very curious to, with the innovations that are coming with graphics. I hope that there are also innovations coming with regard to cooling, because I think that the faster and more powerful these cards get, the hotter they're going to run. To some degree.

Ricky Grove 06:21
That's a good point. Cool. Yeah.

Phil Rice 06:23
So I'm curious if any listener out there ends up having an RTX laptop, either by winning this contest, or just go out and purchase one, I'd love to hear your feedback on that topic. In particular,

Damien Valentine 06:34
that's a very good point about the heat because I'm using an RTX in my desktop. And if I've got Omniverse rendering for any length of time, it gets very warm. And it's not dangerous levels of heat. So it's not going to melt the interior, but it's still I don't need to put the heating on when it's cold, because that stopped us quite nicely. Wow. Yeah. So yeah, next piece in the Omniverse news is the latest version of the Create app, which is part of the Omniverse tool set has been released. There are actually two apps that more or less do the same thing. There's Create, which lets you input your scenes and you can play around the lighting, and then you can render, then there's the Machinima app, which does that, but also lets you animate scenes as well. It's got a timeline with keyframing, and all the other animation stuff you could do. And I was kind of confused why they had the two because they upped the animation thing, they do the same thing. So now create has been updated with all the animation features that Machinima had, which kind of makes it obsolete, because that hasn't updated since last year. I guess it makes sense to merge them into one. I don't really mind which by the call, I guess I would have preferred them to call it Machinima because you know the name. But obviously, they're going with Create. So it's new tools for animation within Create improves some of the rendering tools. They've added a timeline feature. There's still more features, I'm still learning because it's only just been released. So I haven't had a chance to go through it all just yet. So if you're using on diversity, check out the new version of Creates. It looks like it's a massive improvement over the last release, which was, I believe, in November last year. And you'll see that there's more to come this year as the tool sets develops,

Ricky Grove 08:29
that you've answered that question because I was wondering about the Machinima app as well. There hadn't been any updates. And when I went to the, at a press meeting, to preview a lot of the technology and I asked a question, how has the Machinima app developed? I said, Are you do you have any programming and they they sort of hemmed and hawed and they said, Well, you know, they're working on it. Right, exactly. Which was like, not an answer to the question. But now I understand they seem to be putting all of their efforts in to Create, which would function as a machinima tool, but also as a standard tool for any other programme. Like if you come from my 3D Studio Max, you can use Create, and it's all the same tools, which makes a lot more sense. Yes.

Damien Valentine 09:24
Because I'm using iClone to animate my projects, and I bring them in to Create to render out and I've tried it with Machinera as well. But I found Machinera that was a little bit more unstable. glitchy. So preferred Create. And because I've already done the animation, I didn't really have to worry too much about the animation features of Machinima.

Ricky Grove 09:45
It seems like they've seems like they've just dropped the Machinima app and they're putting their focus their development focus on the Create app, which is okay. I mean, that's fine, but it'd be nice that they would just say, hey, you know, we're going to we're not going to do develop the other one, we're going to stay on this, you have to sort of learn by talking to your friends who who do it like you, instead of officially through their news releases.

Damien Valentine 10:13
Ricky, you wanted to talk a bit about the Nvidia conference?

Ricky Grove 10:17
Yeah, I just wanted to mention that. Since you, you talked about using Reallusion, they've released the ActorCore library for the Nvidia Omniverse. And you use their real time animation software to take ActorCore content, including characters with AI, control. Little of the answer, it's really quite good. The Reallusion and Nvidia had a close relationship from the beginning. So whatever developments that are going to occur in Omniverse, you're going to get the developments with Reallusion at the same time, they're going to update at the same time. And that's particularly good, because this month we are last month, we had an interview with Rene Jacob, who used iClone 7 to create Alien: The Message which is a fan film, which is sort of a prequel to the original Alien. And he has lots of by the way, that's a good interview, you can check our company, the website for the link to it. And he talks about some of the tricks that he uses. I asked him about the Omniverse thing, and he said he just hadn't had time to explore it. But for those who want to explore it, I think it would be very useful. And having the actor core library, I think would be quite quite an interesting development. And then with iClone 8 on the horizon, there are probably going to be new developments there as well. So I think the Reallusion, and Nvidia synergy is good. And if you want to start making works in iClone, in related software, that's a good way to go.

Damien Valentine 12:02
Yeah, and the Omniverse, if you're just using Omniverse to render, it doesn't take very long to learn how to do that, because you don't have to worry about all the other features just bring your scene in, you may need to adjust the lighting in Omniverse, because the way lighting because the ray tracing lighting works differently in Omniverse, than the regular lighting with an iClone. Again, that doesn't take very long to play around with and adjust. Most of the time, when I do that scene, I spent about 20 minutes at most just lighting so that is really quick and very easy to do. So it's definitely worth if you've got an RTX card, it's definitely worth having a look at and exploring for the better visual results for your films. A final piece of news. It's a piece of software called Concept Creator. And it's an AI piece of software for music that creates a animated character. And the character models were created with iClone or Character Creator. And so you've got this animated character sat at a piano. And you can bring in some music. And the AI will animate the character to play the correct keys of the piano and you get a video which you can watch as they play it. So you can bring in mp3 music or you can bring in midi music. I've tried both and I found midi music works a lot better because the AI can get used by the mp3 Unless you have a piece of music that's just a piano piece of music recording, it will get very confused by all the other instruments, but maybe some midi music works perfectly. And I've created a video of the AI playing Kara Remembers from the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack because I thought an AI playing the piano from a TV show about AI getting out of control seemed very appropriate.

Damien Valentine 13:06
So yeah, that's my news for the week.

Phil Rice 14:07
Concert Creator is pretty fascinating. If you've ever seen those kind of overhead view, pictures of you know, someone playing the piano and there'll be the light scroll down showing the notes - Russo is I think the most popular, very good piano player that does those videos, you can do that. Or you can have it be from any angle showing the full character playing. And it's it's pretty, pretty decent animation. You know, looks very authentic. There is an RTX mode for it, which basically if you crank the settings up can make it hyper realistic looking in terms of the render ray tracing and all of that. And the other thing I found fascinating was you could actually interface it with VR. Oh So you could you could put this piece of music in there and put, use the VR mode and get any angle you want. Like you could be the angle, like you're the one sitting there at the piano looking at the hands or you get up and move around. So it's, it's, it's fascinating. It's very narrow focus. I mean, if you're not a fan of the piano, then it's probably not something that gets your blood going. But it's a neat innovation and a very, I think, cool use of that tech.

Ricky Grove 15:29
Yeah, I think it's fascinating to see how AI has become increasingly interesting tool for art creation, for either painting, music, graphics, technology, all kinds of interesting things are being done with AI.

Tracy Harwood 15:47

Phil Rice 15:51
Do you guys know, did anyone anticipate that? I mean, like, AI has been talked about in literature and movies and all that for years before it became, you know, almost reality here, or, I mean, we are starting to taste the real thing. It's not self aware or anything like that. But I don't ever remember any of those discussions, though, being about art,

Tracy Harwood 16:16
I think you can trace it back to very early days, in fact, in the digital art movement, and and I think AI, early AI is being used for a very long time. And it's, it's really only now that they've become more sophisticated in the types of data that they can handle. But you've seen people doing things with a lot, you know, really large datasets, and things like deep Google Deep Dream was a bit of a game changer 2015 That came out. But people have been playing with it for years.

Phil Rice 16:51
I was totally unaware,

Damien Valentine 16:52
see, myself as a huge nerd now. And there was an episode of Star Trek, where data is learning how to paint. And Riker comes in, because Gordie is the one that's teaching you how to how to paint this picture. Or Riker says, we live in a world where a blind man can teach a robot how to paint.

Phil Rice 17:13
I vaguely remember that. Yeah.

Tracy Harwood 17:17
But you know, one of my other my other big things is I run an art AI festival called The Art AI festival. And I'm really what my my remit with that has been is to try and help people better understand what AI is capable of, through arts. And we had this last year, it was just around a 10 month programme, which literally just came to an end at the end of March. And we've had everything from deep fakes to facial recognition to well, Google's cellular automata have been part of that as well, chat bots, robots, you know, you name it. We've tried to show been

Phil Rice 18:02
a real explosion here. The past year or two I mentioned you guys got a lot to talk about lately. My goodness,

Tracy Harwood 18:07
spin a big programme and stuff. Now it's about

Phil Rice 18:11
what what to leave out?

Tracy Harwood 18:13
Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, next year, what I'm doing because Because through it, we've become part of the national UK National Science Festival network. And next year, when I run the festival again next year, what we're going to have as our main theme is how can this be a sustainable technology? Because I think that's one of the biggest questions that really emerged through it. To your point, it's really about the tech heats up when you try and do stuff with large files and whatnot.

Ricky Grove 18:42
Yeah, right. That's no clue. Make sure you include a link to the festival in our show notes show or interested or any of the sessions or presentations archived on video. Yeah, I

Tracy Harwood 18:54
mean, I've been running a YouTube channel on it as well. We've had everything from performances online. robot doing a jazz improv performance, with with a musician, currently a world first to people doing comedy improv performance as well with an AI and that actually has had a little bit of machinima content in it as well. Because, you know, machinima has a role in it. It's just that I'm not really managed to find anybody that's that's working in that domain specifically with AI just yet, but hopefully next year, we can include something.

Phil Rice 19:37
Yeah. Ricky, I understand that a film that we've discussed on a previous episode is now available on a new platform. Tell us

Ricky Grove 19:48
about Yeah. Phil Tippett, we had talked about his lifelong work on a stop motion animation film called Mad God, the trailer of witches has to be seen to be believed. It's complete now. And he's been trying to shop it around. I guess it ties in because it's it's a. It's based on the trailer. It's a strange film, I guess you could say it's experimental, which which will tie into a discussion we're going to have in our film section this month, about experimental machinima. But I think that could be the reason why he's had a hard time finding a home but he finally found a streaming network called Shudder, which I subscribed to Lisa and I, my partner Lisa, and it was a horror writers subscribed to and it's great. They've got tonnes of fantastic cutting edge horror on there. And it makes sense because there's a lot of horror elements in Mad God. But he finally found the complete film on Shudder TV. I believe it's a subscription. But it's a low fee subscription, I think 499 or something like that. Plus, if you just wanted to watch med God, you could sign on for the I think it's kind of seven day trial. You can do the seven day trial, watch med garden, and if just I have a feeling you want to stay on because it's got tremendous content on it. But if you don't, you could sign out just to watch Mad God because this is Phil Tippett, if you don't remember he's a VFX, extraordinaire in a Star Wars, Starship Troopers and many others. And in his spare time, he has been working on this really strange stop motion film and stop motion is hard to do. And he's just a genius at it. And MAD GOD is now complete. And it's available to stream on Shudder TV.

Phil Rice 21:51
Yeah, I know a few horror fans, and they all rave about Shudder that it's like, you know, it's just they can't believe it exists. It's so good. just such a great collection of stuff. So that's great. That's awesome.

Tracy Harwood 22:07
will probably be a channel that I avoid like the plague. But it's great that it exists because it kind of gets all over there out the way.

Phil Rice 22:20
Tracy, we've talked on a previous episode of very recently, I think about that there seemed to be a lack of competitive contest type environments for Yeah, real time, machinima, and we'd kind of concluded there's not any I think I was the one that said it most efficiently. It doesn't exist. Exactly. Then like what two days later you went out and prove me wrong. Tell me about it.

Tracy Harwood 22:43
Well, I clearly lied. There is no other way to say it. Because literally just as we close last month's episode, this real time shorts competition came to my attention which which actually has now closed, unfortunately. But this was the first of this kind of competition, which has been hosted by a chap called John MacInnes, and the judges really interesting and it to that. They include Kim Libreri, who's the Chief Technology technology officer at Epic, Matt Workman, Joy Lee, Randal Kleiser, Nigel Tierney, all of them that you know, folks that really know their stuff. And in fact, the competition was actually really quite an interesting concept when I had a bit more of a look at at it. Basically, John had made Unreal Engine scene files from one of his creative projects available to those that registered for the competition. And then they had something like 30 days in which to create a short. Now that resulted as far as I understand it, in something like 179 teams from 26 countries registered grief. Yeah, of which 30 then went on to submit a film. So I think they're a bit nervous about the whole process until the final sort of stage of it, but 30 films for our first competition, I think it's pretty good result. And then what they've got from it, I think, is pretty fascinating. It's, I think it's a real lesson in in encouraging storytelling, using a lot of different techniques to put that story across. Now, I'd recommend you have a look at a few of the films. None of them are very long. They're only about four minutes long. And I'm actually hoping to interview John about the competition because as far as I understand it, they're already working on a second competition. I don't really know too much too much kind of more more about it, but we will put a link in the show notes to the website on which you can see all the winning selections and one I want to mention when we talk about a film's next week as well, but also on the YouTube channel, you can find all 30 entries as well. And they're all pretty much worth a little looksee. Obviously, there's some similarities between some of them because of the way they've been created. But, but interesting to have a look. So yeah, that was that was quite interesting. And then the other thing other competitions I wanted to mention is that the Milan Machinima Film Festival, which showcase your film, Phil, OBIT, has also just completed end of March. That is, as we're as we're recording early April. Now, they ran 25 films from nine countries. And they were shown during this festival, which, interestingly, was a kind of mixed approach. Quite a lot of the films you can find online, but they also ran a programme in the local Milan Theatre, which of course, you know, most of us couldn't get along to, unfortunately, including The Grannies that we talked about last month as well. The website showcases the interviews with these selected films. And Phil also mentioned that last month, so we'll share a link to those because some of those interviews are really quite interesting, but the one I wanted to highlight was actually their Critics' Choice Award, which was given to a name you've probably heard of, for quite an interesting film. Now the guy the guy's a guy called Sam Crane, and it's a recording of his attempt to perform Shakespeare in Grand Theft Auto Online. Now, crane, in case you don't know is quite well known and critically acclaimed, professional actor. He's performed at the globe, Shakespeare's home in London, various other theatres, and he's recently been in things like Sister Boniface Mysteries, Poldark, The Crown, various other TV shows and whatnot. The the machinima itself is called We Are Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On. And what can I say about that? Well, it's absurdist performance art using Prospero's famous speech from the tempest in Grand Theft Auto. Needless to say, he gets wasted a lot in the process. And it's all about the wasting side of it.

Tracy Harwood 27:38
But what's kind of funny about it is that he's clearly not had enough of being wasted in Grand Theft Auto because what he's now trying to do is recruit some actors to do a full scale performance of Hamlet in for the PS five. Unfortunately, I think by the time this episode goes out, you will have already missed the auditions because he's been touting for for actors. But I do think it's something to keep an eye on. Not least because, you know, last year like it was September time, we dedicated a whole episode to classic machinima and frankly, we found a real dearth of contemporary interesting pieces to discuss. So I would say it's with some anticipation I await this performance in due course, and we'll put a link to the you know, the Milan Festival's Critics' Choice, but with that little backstory in our, in our minds, I think. So yeah. Competitions. That's great. I can't wait to see it. It's going to be hilarious. I do too. Okay, then the other news I've got is Draxtor Dupres, who we will all know is this documentarian that we've previously mentioned, who creates documentaries about residents in Second Life. And these are these are fab stories that he's released over the years. Well, now he's released a feature length film actually on second of April, I'm glad it wasn't the first comprising both machinima and real life footage. Now, what he's done is he's captured footage in two very different virtual worlds Second Life and Animal Crossing. And he's done it. He's kind of captured all this, this footage during the pandemic lockdowns and then he's tried to do this really interesting comparison between these worlds intersected with people's real life reflections on their experiences. And obviously, the point here is that second life has a history of what 17 years of being this rich aethetic creative space, whereas Animal Crossing was released what 11 months ago. And the documentary itself is an hour and a half long, and Drax says it's based on over 100 hours worth of transcribed interviews through which he's tried to weave this complex narrative, which is, it's actually pretty astonishing stuff in itself. So I'll give you a little bit of an overview of it, because I have sat watched it. Basically, it's this critical, what I call ethnographic analysis of how people use these environments to live out these rich social experiences with their digital selves, whilst their physical selves have been locked up at home on their own, no escape and so on. And it's it's basically like their worlds have been inverted. And it features a whole bunch of really interesting folks, including the digital anthropologist Tom Boeslstorff, whom you may have come across as the author of the book coming of age in Second Life. And he apparently ran this regular meetup. In Second Life during, during and throughout the pandemic. What's interesting, I think, is how these two very different environments Second Life and Animal Crossing those have both enabled people really to find this, you know, they found a sort of sense of peace and purpose, and a place to kind of emote and express themselves as well as to kind of socialise. And some in this documentary, have referred to these spaces really interestingly, as virtual drugs. And they describe it as akin to Soma in in Huxley's Brave New World, which is a really interesting way of thinking about that thing. Yeah. And I think also that what what the documentary shows, is, not only is it sort of shining this really bright light on the relationship between the virtual and the physical, and the diversity of representations of roles and responsibilities that you might have in those kinds of spaces, but it's also showing the very clear differences between social media and virtual worlds or social spaces - they are very different things. But on top of that, it's also showing the role of machinima itself, which once again, can only you know, it's the only tool really, that you can use to capture virtual happenings and storytelling.

Tracy Harwood 32:29
So, you know, it's not really very surprising. I think that that organisations like Meta, have kind of decided that they want in on this this act. Now, I would say Drax has put in a huge amount of work into this project, and it's important for machinima, I think as well in highlighting its significance as a creative medium format. And so you know that it was an hour and a half long, I would definitely recommend that anyone interested in machinima that has a bit of a look through this documentary. If you want to learn a little bit more about Metaverse life, what it what it can actually be. And I, I would say there are many, many different forms of expression in this documentary, and how machinima is being used to document that is quite interesting. What I particularly like about the way he's done it, and I've not seen this done before, which, which is one thing I would say that the editing of it is that he's changed the sound of the speakers, depending on whether they are speaking as an avatar, or as a person on screen, within a screen, or direct to camera or in person. And so you've got the same person speaking in different ways to represent these different lenses, I think that that have roles in this documentary, very interesting way that he's done it. But the other thing that I would say in this documentary, which is fascinating, too, is there's this excerpt of these young creators, eight and 10 years old, I think they are, who are massive fans clearly of Animal Crossing. And one of them says to camera, the reason that she absolutely loves this world, is because she can do things in there that you can't do in real life she says, like make movies. And with that she sort of picks up her, her controller, and with a couple of clicks shows you how to make a film. Say, Good job. That was amazing. Yeah. So we'll put a link to that in the in the show notes because it's really fascinating stuff. And good job Drax.

Ricky Grove 34:43
Wow, what a wonderful collection of news you have this.

Tracy Harwood 34:47
Well, I've got one more piece if and if you don't if you can bear with me one more piece. Oh, sure. Yeah, the Unreal Engine five. Now I'm sure there's going to be nobody in the world that doesn't know that this has been released by the time our news segment goes out. It was released on the fifth of April. but alongside that the Matrix Awakens Experience was also released to PC. Yay. It's a massive 86 gigabit download though. Which I guess, probably not know, no, that's a lot.

Phil Rice 35:21
That's still a lot. Yeah, is it a lot? But that's still a lot. Good lord,

Damien Valentine 35:25
I can add something to this when you when you finish well,

Tracy Harwood 35:28
okay. Okay. Well, I was gonna say one thing I wanted to highlight about this was, you know, we... this wasn't even, as far as I'm aware on the slate when, when we were talking to John Gaeta, a couple of months ago now. So I think it's quite interesting that they've, they've released it. Finally. Because, of course, you know, one of the things here was that it was going to be used for creative, potentially creative purposes. And it was never going to be used for creative purposes on the on the PS five, no matter how good you are at using that kind of platform, I think. So it's great sit on the PC. What I wanted to put a link to in the show notes is a couple of little videos, one of which is showing you how you can do more with this kind of expansive, open world, which is, which is based on the Matrix aesthetic. And I think it's quite clever in the way that they articulate the unreal five pipeline through the development in the way that they talk about it. So it's definitely worth a watch, I think. And the other thing, I think that's quite interesting, too, is that they've put the playable assets 1000s of them, I understand it, such as vehicles and meta humans, in the Unreal marketplace as free downloads, so you can go wherever you kind of like and do whatever you want with it. Now, literally, as we are recording, this is just five days after this thing was released. Now what's going to say? I can't wait to see what new stories, new stories folks tell with this world. But it seems that there are already a bunch of Superman style fan videos of folks flying around in the cityscape environment. And to be honest, I was kind of hoping for something a little more creative. But I guess we're now going to see a bunch of tutorial type videos, not least because they've created some really interesting developer tools on which folks can build their own content really quickly, of which Lyra, I think is particularly interesting. They're calling it a starter game, I'd be really interested to see what you guys think about Lyra when you when you get a chance. So again, what I'll say I'll put them in the show notes. I'll put the link to both Kim Librari's keynote on this release, and the making of matrix awakens experiences as well on the on the show notes. And that's it for me this month.

Damien Valentine 38:10
But why don't we try to that is the way they've released Matrix Awakens on the PC is it's not actually called the Matrix Awakens, it's called the city sample, because what they've done is, my understanding is the console version of it starts off with this interactive scene with Neo and Trinity. We saw it in the videos, they've taken that out. So what you've got is one that finishes you then have the city to explore and have fun with. You just get that segment of it as a sample project in Unreal five. So you don't get the Matrix five, you just get the city to explore. And you can do everything you can in the console version, as part of that part. You just don't get the characters. I'm not sure quite why they haven't. My guess might be because of rights issues with their likenesses and stuff like that. And they don't want probably,

Phil Rice 39:01
for sure, yeah.

Damien Valentine 39:04
But the 85 gigabyte download. This includes the Unreal five engine and the sample project. But what some fans have done is created an actual executable version of the city project, which is only 17 gigabytes. If you just want to play around the city that's a bit more manageable. I haven't had a chance to try it yet. Because the download sites for it has been overloaded. So I haven't been able to get a copy to play around with yet so we'll see what happens with that. And hopefully, by next time to add that to it. You don't get the Matrix which is just the city simulation, which still looks very impressive, and I've seen some videos of people playing around with it.

Phil Rice 39:48
Oh, and that's the most interesting part really, isn't it? Sure. Sure. Yeah. So me.

Ricky Grove 39:52
Quick note on Unreal five there have been some major changes in additions they completely redid their lighting set up they've they've adjusted the interface, the Unreal interface. There's lots of good videos on YouTube about introducing you to Unreal five, if you've been afraid of Unreal five because Unity I mean, obviously Unity, which is there, right chief rival is easier to use Unreal is a bit harder. But I think Unreal five is a good place if you've been wanting to learn Unreal, this would be a good version of it to start with. Because although the initial learning curve is a bit high, once you get over that threshold, it becomes very clear. And they the marketplace like like Tracy was pointing out it's filled with all sorts of free content. It's machinima because it takes place in an Unreal Engine, and the rendering quality is just fantastic. So this Unreal we will definitely put a download link. So you can if you just want to try Unreal five, lots of tutorials. We'll put that in the show notes.

Phil Rice 41:06
Yeah, Unity still uh, yeah, Unity is a great platform and they must it's I kind of picture like with this huge launch that unreal five has had and the to call it Buzz is you need a new word for bigger than buzz. You know? It's unreal. Oh, yeah. It's like if they were Characters and Back to the Future something that Unity is a nice guys, George McFly. Hi there. And you know, unreal five is is Biff butthead. And not that they're mean but just he's just this bigger than life guy that dominates the room. And that's that's that's the kind of month and frankly year that Unreal five has had its Yeah, it's astounding. So I'm looking forward to Yeah, peeling back the wrapping paper on that for sure.

Damien Valentine 41:57
One of the videos I saw earlier about the city sample and guys playground that he said this must be giving Rockstar a headache when they're working on GTA six.

Phil Rice 42:07
By the way, there have been some very interesting rumours about GTA six. And they may be nonsense, but I'll just give you kind of a taste. One of them is that Rockstar is aiming for a world size comparable to that of Earth. spanning multiple continents. Wow. Now, again, completely unfounded. I don't know. But I think some of that is just looking at will actually one of the my film choice for for next week is directly related to world sizes in games and the numbers there is just it's just mind blowing. What's what's being done in this this Matrix City is a great example of just the kind of scale there is. It was unimaginable just a few years ago. You know, it's really very interesting. Fascinating growth happening in that whole area. Yeah, yeah, I'll close and mention that Unity. did recently release a real time cinematic teaser, titled Enemies. It's absolutely gorgeous. And like it, it's gotten completely overshadowed by Unreal Engine five, but it's beautiful. It's just kind of a nice reminder that wow, you know, Unity can really can really do some amazing stuff that's that's in the same tier, as the kind of content that we see come out of Unreal Engine. I don't think they have the corporate adoption. And, you know, Unreal Engine, obviously is used in the shows that a lot of us like on Disney plus and whatnot, the Mandalorian and that kind of thing. And that's going to propel the evolution of that tech forward. I think having those adopters I don't know if Unity has anything comparable to that. But it's it's still a amazing platform. Still low cost entry to get involved with it. I mean, technically, you can use it for free under under most circumstances. So we'll include a link to that Enemies teaser because I found it. I found it fascinating. I don't I don't think if I'd been shown it and not been told that it was the Unity engine. I don't think I would have guessed that from looking at it. Yeah, yeah. It's very, very, very high end.

Ricky Grove 44:43
Yeah, you're right, the buzz is more with Unreal, but Unity is still a very strong choice. Better marketplace with cheaper products, lots of free stuff. If the learning curve is lower. You also have the I don't want to say perfect less of a professional user base, because there are professional but that their focus is on making games becoming a game maker. And whereas Unreal, you can still create games with Unreal, but it's Unreal is moved over into other areas virtual production and things like that. Yes, Unity has always stayed focused on game making. That's true. So I think if you're wanting to become a game maker or create machinima Unity is a great platform to start. And it's essentially free. Now the cost is going to come in when you go, Oh, yeah, oh, that's science fiction city. I got to have that science fiction city for 10 bucks. And then you said, Oh, I've got to get that science fiction hallway. And pretty soon you got $50 worth of your science fiction set. So there is a cost they it's a great little salesmanship where they bring you in. But the cost is low. It's really low. And it's really easy to use once you get the hang of it, and the community is strong. Lots of great tutorials, it's still a very viable source, to make movies to make games to create content to do virtual photography. That's great. That's really great.

Phil Rice 46:17
Well, I think that concludes our News episode. Thank you, listeners for tuning in.

Ricky Grove 46:23
Oh, one last thing I wanted to say. Excuse me for interrupting you. Tracy, you mentioned that the Matrix world was used by people to feel safe. You know, during a while I have another alternative for feeling safe. And it's reading, read a book!

Phil Rice 46:48
or put it in front of your shirt because it's the background blur is making it. Anyway. There you go. Yeah, there you go.

Tracy Harwood 46:55
Yeah. Oh, wow. Yeah.

Ricky Grove 46:58
I Claudius if you want to feel safe and jump into a little world read books. There's

Tracy Harwood 47:05
some of those scary too

Phil Rice 47:09
wonderfully so wonderfully.

Ricky Grove 47:12
I con other than political scary, but I just wanted to make that little announcement that reading is still a great thing.

Phil Rice 47:19
Yeah, I read Solaris Yes. What did you do loved it loved it. And it is at points when you let your imagination take hold. It's there's parts of that story that are really terrifying. But, but it's a wonderful. I don't know if it's classified as hard sci fi. I don't really care about that line. But it's it's just a wonderful, really out there science fiction tale and a a really insightful study of humanity. I think, of how we tend to behave when we encounter something we can't explain. Just wonderful, better than any theology book I've ever read, covering that topic, you know, but it's all in the context of these these astronauts or cosmonauts wonderful. And I got that book, shameless plug from Ricky's Paperback Shop, which we'll include a link to that in there as well. Ricky's got a great collection of very reasonably priced paperbacks and just wonderful diversity of selection. So, yeah, if you're going to take Ricky's advice and get back into books, that's a great place to start.

Ricky Grove 48:31
And the author of that book is Stanislaw Lem, who has a superb website, Stanislaw He passed away, but his reputation is steadily growing because during the sort of Cold War, Red Scare, anybody who wrote in Eastern Europe was considered to be communist. And so they didn't publish them. He broke through the publishing ceiling back in the 80s. And now almost all of his books are in print and they're fantastic books. They're just great. I'm so glad you'd like Solaris it's a great yeah,

Phil Rice 49:07
I loved it. I loved it.

Tracy Harwood 49:10
And you Alright, so we're gonna I was it Ricky shipping to the UK? Yeah.

Ricky Grove 49:16
No, sorry. But for you, you, you contact me and I'll do it. But for most people no the shipping rates from America to UK are just out of sight. 6.95 for the book 29.95 to ship. Yeah, not good.

Tracy Harwood 49:39
And three weeks waiting. Yeah.

Phil Rice 49:44
Well, we just like to make it clear that Ricky's America first standard is not the standard of the show in general.

Ricky Grove 49:52
That's right. I'm sure.

Phil Rice 49:55
Thanks for everybody. Yeah. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you on the next episode. Well, we're talking about some films. We'll sign off now for me Phil, Tracy, Ricky and Damien. Thank you. A pleasure as always. Keep reading!

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